- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 28, 2018

The House voted Thursday to impose a one-week deadline on the Justice Department to turn over sensitive documents detailing the FBI’s handling of investigations during the 2016 election, ramping up the heat in a major separation of powers battle.

The Justice Department has resisted, saying it’s never turned over the kind of information Congress is requesting, and warning it could compromise sources and methods used in investigations into the Hillary Clinton’s email practices, the Clinton Foundation and Trump campaign interactions with Russian operatives.

After months of back-and-forth, House GOP leaders said they’re fed up and determined to assert their primacy as the government’s chief overseers. They set a July 6 deadline for compliance with a series of subpoenas and lesser document requests issued by the Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

“There are too many people in the Justice Department who got too good at lying. We need to see these documents to find out what is the truth,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican.

The House voted 226-183 to set the deadline.

Democrats, who were unanimously opposed, mocked the vote as a dereliction of duty amid so many other pressing issues.

They said the push to get the documents was actually an attempt to undermine the ongoing investigation being led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

“We have a president who seems unhinged,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, Massachusetts Democrat. “With all that’s happening, this is what we’re dealing with today?”

He said said there are live targets in the Mueller probe, pointing to the slew of indictments and people currently in jail — including former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort — thanks to the special counsel’s work.

Mr. Manafort is awaiting trial on charges of money laundering and failing disclose his ties to foreign entities. His bail was revoked earlier this month after a judge said it appeared he had tried to tamper with a witness.

Republicans didn’t deny they wanted to police the theories behind the Mueller probe.

“When we get these documents we believe it will do away with this whole fiasco of what they call the Russian-Trump collision because there wasn’t any,” said Rep. Mark Meadows, the North Carolina Republican who sponsored the deadline resolution.

The resolution doesn’t say what will happen should the department miss the deadline, but lawmakers have said they could hold the officials involved, including Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, in contempt of Congress. Impeachment is also another possibility.


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